The SPEEDS Symposium took place in UCC on May 9th. The event was well-attended with participants travelling from our partner institutions across Ireland.
The conference theme was “Teaching and Learning for Social Justice in a Digital World“, which is central to education in social policy and the social professions. This proved a timely focus for discussion and the conference attracted colleagues from cognate disciplines including adult education, nursing, law, digital humanities, art history, education, geography, and criminology.
Professor Paul McSweeney, Vice-President for Learning and Teaching in UCC, presented the opening address on the importance of digital education for student success. The Head of School of Applied Social Studies, Dr Cathal O’Connell then reflected on the significance of digital fluency for engaging students in social justice issues.
Dr Eileen McEvoy then presented an overview of the work of the National Forum and encouraged attendance to get involved. Eileen also commended the SPEEDS project for addressing the National Forum’s key strategic priorities, as represented in the image below.
Dr Callum McGregor delivered the Keynote Address, which was a thoughtful analysis of the importance of criticality in thinking about digital citizenship and resisting data fetishism. This encouraged us into deep reflection about the impact of the digital for advancing social justice in subsequent discussion.
This was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Dr Briony Supple, UCC Centre for the Integration of Research into Teaching and Learning. The panel was populated by SPEEDS participants, including lecturers and instructional designers from partner institutions.
In the afternoon, we examined poster presentations and chatted with the presenters, who included Simone McCaughren (UCC), Eileen Farrell and Damien Raftery (IT Carlow), Louise Crowley (UCC), Karl Kitching (UCC), Becci Jeffers (UCC), and Fiachra Ó Súilleabháin and Máire Leane (UCC). We also enjoyed the opportunity to explore some of the conference themes in small group discussions. This was an enjoyable day and a lovely event through which to mark the end of the SPEEDS project in terms of formal collaborations. However, we look forward to continuing discussion and collaboration into the future. Next on the agenda is the EuroSoTLconference in Bilbao in June!
The event was beautifully captured in a graphic recording by the talented Maia Thomas.